Stages Of Labour
When you are in the midst of labour, you will probably feel bewildered by all that’s happening. Be forearmed by getting clued in to what happens from the moment your contractions start to the moment of delivery.
This is the longest stage. It takes 12 to 14 hours if you’re a first-time mum and between six to 10 hours the second and subsequent times. In this stage, your cervix effaces (thins) and dilates by uterine contractions.
On average the cervix opens 1cm per hour. Your cervix is considered fully dilated at 10cm. You are then ready for stage two.
The cervix is nearly fully dilated and the uterus begins to contract. You may experience shallow and light breathing through your contractions during this time. You have to then consciously focus on your breathing.
Typically, there’s an interval between transition and stage 2. Try and relax and conserve your energy.
This is the pushing stage. You will feel the urge to push with each contraction that feels like an intense pressure in your pelvis. Go with your instinct.
Don’t push when you don’t have the urge to do so as this may deprive both you and your baby of oxygen. Breathe through your contractions instead.
Baby now moves down the birth canal. As he begins to crown (appear in the vaginal opening), you may feel a stinging sensation. Try and stay relaxed as tensing your pelvic muscles may delay birth.
Once the head has crowned, you can reach down to touch your baby. You may want to look at him through a mirror to give yourself a boost.
All that is left now is another one or two contractions to birth the shoulders and you will have your newborn in your arms.